Multilingual Business Communication

April 11, 2009

You are in good hands

Filed under: crisis communication, Maud Bonte — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 7:04 pm

Two weeks ago, a serious mistake was made in the Brugmann hospital in Brussels. A corrossive substance – instead of distilled water – was used to clean an endoscope, causing severe internal burns to 4 patients during a routine intestinal check-up.

The hospital immediately admitted a blunder was made. They contacted the possibly affected patients,  offered them the appropriate medical, psychological, legal, administrative assistance, and promised a compensation. A fine example of good crisis communication!

But at the same time the hospital brought action against an unknown person and tried to minimalise the damage. Two weeks have passed and nothing has been communicated concerning the results of the investigation. The patients complained about the bad communication of the hospital towards them.

The website of the Brugmann Hospital says nothing about the incident. It does say they are cooperating in a national campaign about hospital hygiene ‘You are in good hands’. I’m not so sure if the 4 victims would agree on this…

Maud Bonte

Sources: Zware fout bij darmonderzoek, Knack, 31 March 2009
Routineonderzoek in ziekenhuis heeft dramatisch gevolgen, De Standaard, 1 April 2009

April 10, 2009

Blogging in crisis communication

Filed under: crisis communication, Ruth Broekaert — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 6:26 pm

http://rodjohns.typepad.com/.a/6a00e54edf3719883401156e4fb4b9970c-800wi

With the introduction of blogs and other social media companies have to face new challenges if they are to deal with a crisis situation effectively and efficiently.In crisis communication the goals are to maintain a positive image of the company, to present timely information, and to remain accessible. Blogs give the ability to offer updates instantly and to remain accessible. Moreover, you can use a human tone of voice to accommodate the public’s emotional response.

But how do you deal with a blogging community of millions during a crisis? Rumours can spread like wildfire from blogger to blogger, country to country. There are some things you can take into account, because after all, you do want to survive the crisis.

First of all, you should have a crisis communication plan in place. It’s very important for companies to have blogging policies, and certainly, don’t replace your crisis communications plan with blogs. It’s got to be part of the mix.

Secondly, publish facts and only facts. The more information you give, the more you can contain the issue. Don’t let speculation and assumption run wild. Bloggers appreciate openness and giving them all the information is the key.

Thridly, bloggers look for the truth. Answer any questions they might have, post comments on blogs addressing the issue, ask for their opinions and get their insight. Work with them, not against them.

And last but not least, take nothing for granted. Continuously monitor your blog, not only prominent bloggers. When rumours or allegations are completely false this doesn’t mean you can ignore it.

Ruth Broekaert


http://www.prblogger.com/2006/02/blog-crisis-communications/

http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/heath-row/blogs-new-role-crisis-communications

Are we the ones in charge now?

Filed under: business communication, employee communication — Tags: , , , — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 5:26 pm

When looking at employee communication, we often consider it as one way traffic from the employer towards the employee. However, I asked myself lately wether this could have been slightly reversed. In the last decade, employees became more and more demanding. They do not settle for just any job available anymore. According to a Weekend Knack questionnaire held amongst 20 year olds, we do not just want to find a job and earn large amounts of money. We mainly want to live the good life. We still work overtime, but instead of being paid for it, we want more holidays in return. This does not mean that we are a lazy generation, we just consider quality time of more importance than materialism.

We do not want money. We want a nice atmosphere, a good company image and flexible working hours.
We do not want certainty. We rather enjoy what we do, also if it is for a short time.
Last but not least, we have faith in ourselves and believe that everything will work out just fine.

I guess this makes us a very demanding generation and I believe employers will become the ones to be flexible, instead of the employees.

Source: Weekend Knack nr.15, April 8th until April 14th, 2009 pg.25-30

New harbour, new home port?

Filed under: internship — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 5:11 pm

My internship will take place at the local government of the city of Ghent. I will function as a project communication assistant. The project concerned is called “Revitalisering Oude Industriehavens” or “Revitalising Old Industrial Harbours”. Together with seven other cities in Belgium and the Netherlands, including Antwerp, Hasselt, Leuven, Oostende, Roermond, Tilburg and Vlissingen, Ghent will start turning the old harbour into a new lively environment to work and live in. They will also create a book and a dvd on how the old quays are developing. Everything will be recorded on tape before, during and after the changes. This project is just a small part of Ghent’s bigger mission, namely “Mission 2020”. This mission deals with ideas on what the city should look like in 2020 according to governments and according to the inhabitants of the city themselves. Getting everyone involved is of major importance, so I think Ghent is doing a wonderful job being socially responsible!

An illusionary street campaign

Filed under: Frauke De Graeve, marketing communication, Uncategorized — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 3:25 pm

absolut-vodka-stockholm-krijt

This nice piece of street art was to be seen in Stockholm. It was designed by the American artist Kurt Wenner  on commission of Absolut Vodka.

This spectacular and beautiful example of a illusionary street campaign is a 3D chalk drawing on the pavement in a park. The print was part of the brand’s prestigious art ad series. The creation of Wenner’s art was also filmed by Absolut Vodka for a television commercial.

 

In the beginning, street art, which is any art developed in public places, was used to show activism and to create a powerful platform for reaching a large public.

Graffiti is the most popular and most known form of street art. Street art is popular, alive and kicking. There is even a website that is like a database, on which all street art in the world is indicated.

 

As street marketers must always be up-to-date and innovative, they use the latest and talked-about ways to surprise the people. They picked up on this trend and made artists design wonderful art ads.

 

Other examples designed by Kurt Wenner are the campaign for Microsoft’s X-game Gear of War and the Honda Formula 1 for Lucky Strike Racing.

street-art-xbox

lucky-strike-stoepkrijt

Frauke De Graeve

BRXL BRAVO: not just open day

Filed under: Frauke De Graeve, internship — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 3:11 pm

 

 

brxl-bravo-goed1Brxl Bravo  (say: Brussel Bravo) is a non-profit organisation that organises an arts festival in Brussels, from 2 to 4 October 2009. 150 organisations take part in it, both Dutch- and French-speaking. The festival lays stress on the cooperation, exchange of ideas and on diversity – in languages, cultures and artistic disciplines.

This year the third edition takes place. The previous editions were in 2005 and 2007 and they were a huge success.

 

Brxl Bravo is much more than just open day in the art galleries and concert halls. It is a socio-cultural event, that wants to reach all ranks of society, like children and underprivileged people. It is not only for the typical culture-loving public. On the programme, there are dancing and music performances, but also work shops and interactive sessions for drama and music.

 

I am charged to write the brochure for the festival, in which all the art projects will be presented. Further, I will prepare a press conference and I will be responsible for the communication with the different projects. I also get the opportunity to work with the different authorities in Brussels. We will work closely together with amongst others Bozar and KVS, and maybe the Swedish community in Brussels, which I would like very much.

 

Frauke De Graeve

Talking with (not to) your employees about diversity

Filed under: employee communication, internship, Ruth Broekaert, Uncategorized — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 3:11 pm

A couple of years ago only a few had heard of the term ‘diversity’. More and more managers have come to realize the importance and the benefits of a diverse workforce. Today diversity has truly become a hot topic for internal communication.

But internal communication is often not more than a one way stream of information. A lot of companies are telling their employees not to discriminate, to tolerate differences and so on. This of course is a good thing. But more effective internal communication leaves room for dialogue, and allows top-down and bottom-up communication to complement each other.

The city of Ghent recognizes that internal communication is in fact a two way street. To put this belief into practice the city’s program for diversity and equal opportunities has made a brochure that gives word to the employees. During workshops employees exchanged their experiences with diversity at the workplace. These stories were bundled into a brochure that has been distributed to all city departments. The success of the internal diversity campaign was acknowledged by Federal Minister of Work and Equal Opportunities Joëlle Milquet 1as she rewarded Ghent with the Label Diversity Equality.

https://i2.wp.com/www.werk.belgie.be/uploadedImages/Newsletter/Test/label%20def.JPGhttps://i0.wp.com/www.rollerman.be/images/Stad%20Gent%20kleur.jpgdiversiteit2702072

1 http://www.belg.be/leesmeer.php?x=6498

Ruth Broekaert


It doesn’t hurt to try

Filed under: employee communication, Frauke De Graeve — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 2:55 pm

 

In times of crises, employers find it difficult to motivate their personnel. On the website of CIPD, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 10 hints to manage the workforce in a recession are listed.

The three most important hints are these:

  • Think long term.
    Be creative in reducing costs. Furthermore, keep in mind that it is expensive to lay people off and recruit new ones when the market picks up again.
  • Maintain employee engagement.
    It is important to set objectives in a clear direction. Also, make sure you keep your employees in the picture, even though there is only a little news. You can organise team-building days or give out employee awards.
  • Support the employees’ health and well-being.
    Recession times can have an impact on the psychological condition of the employees. Flexible working hours make it more comfortable to combine work and home lives. Besides, provide workplace support and health provision to prevent high levels of stress.

 

It is rather doubtful whether this list of – barely renewed – hints can help an employer to motivate his personnel. At least, it doesn’t hurt to try to give some hints.

 

Frauke De Graeve

 

Source: http://www.cipd.co.uk/subjects/emplaw/redundancy/_hwmngwrfrcs.htm?IsSrchRes=1

 

 

 

Homophobia in sports? Not in Ghent

Filed under: internship, marketing communication, Ruth Broekaert — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 12:52 pm

City marketing is now booming. More and more cities are explicitly positioning themselves amongst their competitors by emphasizing their points of difference. An essential part of city marketing is to clearly state the city’s core values. Even before the city marketing boom, Ghent has always been known for its leading role among others Flemish cities in promoting equal opportunities and diversity. Now, they want to do even more and take it a step further.

That is why the city of Ghent has teamed up with the Holebi Federation to organize the very first Belgian ‘Holebi sportdag’, a sports day for bi-, homo- and heterosexuals. A lot of prominent people from in and around Ghent will be present to sign a charter against homophobia in sports. Why you ask? Of course because doing sports is fun for all! But this is also Ghent’s way of sharing its core values. This sports day is an ideal way to show everyone that there is no need for discrimination or homophobia in the macho world of sports, or anywhere else for that matter.

So sign up for one or more sports activities, from beach mix to highland games, or just come and cheer for the soccer match between the Pink Devils (a gay soccer team) and the soccer team of the Ghent police department. Queer or straight, don’t be square and be there at the Blaarmeersen on the 9th of march!

https://i2.wp.com/www.gent.be/pics/gelijke_kansen/div-color.jpghttps://i0.wp.com/www.rollerman.be/images/Stad%20Gent%20kleur.jpg

Ruth Broekaert

Print Media: The struggle for survival

Filed under: business communication, crisis communication, Vanessa Vanleene — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 11:31 am

The global financial crisis has made several new victims by pushing print media to the verge of extinction. These last couple of months, the already volatile sector of newspapers wearily noticed the erosion of circulation and advertising. The threat of heavy debt has forced several newspapers to file for bankruptcy or, in a final attempt to save themselves, to take extreme measures in cutting costs.

 

In December 2008, the Belgian publisher of several large Flemish newspapers, Corelio announced 60 layoffs. Luckily, by March 2009, the dismissals at De Morgen were limited to 15 instead of 26 employees. Corelio was also heavily criticised by the National Committee of Professional Photographers when the publisher stated they would no longer require the photographers’ services. To escape bankruptcy, Corelio’s journalists were now required to come up with their own photos for publication. The publisher is clearly giving it all in order to overcome the hardships of the economic crisis.

 

The question remains however whether there will be a future for print media at all. There are those who believe that the business model of newspapers is simply not up to par, especially when compared to the possibilities of the world wide web. Indeed, we are a generation who reads the news online, continuously updated all throughout the day. Maybe, the financial crisis is only pointing out the obvious, when the weakest companies have to close shop.

 

 

Vanessa Vanleene

Sources:

“Gedrukt dagblad wordt een dinosaurus”, NRC Handelsblad, 12 December 2008, p. 15

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